From Publishers Weekly
Like Edwards's previous collection of idioms, Monkey Business (2004), this grouping illustrates figures of speech with outlandish sentences that use and (usually) define them, as well as richly worked paintings. In one, a mouse in a party hat walks along a pipe carrying a piece of birthday cake: "Blanche discovered that finding her way home from the party was a piece of cake." The panels, done in watercolor, colored pencil, and gouache, feature an inexhaustible store of surreal fantasies; there's a frog driving a submersible, a crab tying a giraffe's bowtie, and a panda playing a violin with spaghetti ("In order to have dinner music, Andy was forced to use his noodle"). Cats are tucked into each scene, providing even more reason to explore the images in detail. The explanations for each phrase, provided at the end, will be necessary in some cases--a portrait of Inspector Reinhold, a rhino with a fish perched on his horn, doesn't suggest the suspiciousness that comes with smelling "something fishy," and a snail's pace, as it hurtles down a hill, comes across as quite rapid. All ages.
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Edwards begins this picture book with a definition of "idiom," and English teachers will thrill to find a book that deals with this elusive idea. The expectation will be that the pictures will get to the true meaning of the expressions, but readers will be surprised. In fact, Edwards's illustrations show the literal meaning, which is effective in its own way. When he depicts a pelican swallowing a frog to illustrate "having a frog in one's throat," it's clear that the meaning could not be literal. It is patently ridiculous. A list of the real meanings is provided at the end of the book. The illustrations are handsome and detailed, which adds to the ridiculous nature of the literal interpretations. This is a useful book to introduce this figure of speech to older kids; it will make them laugh as they tease out what each entry actually means.-Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.